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Promoting Your Website (Part 1) - Overview

Web site Promotion : Overview | Advertising | Our Service

Once you have created a website, you need to ensure that it reaches the largest possible audience with the aim of driving a large amount of traffic to your web site.  This is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing).  A carefully designed SEO strategy and a specialist in this area can either make or break your website. 

It is important that you do not underestimate the time and effort which is involved in Search Engine Marketing and Optimisation - the way in which search engines find websites and decide which ones to display at the top of their search listings is constantly being refined, to avoid sites specifically designed to cheat the system.  You can do a lot of work yourself when initially designing your web site, although you should ideally discuss all aspects of your site through design, implementation and marketing with an SEO expert with several years proven experience.

You can take some action to promote your website and driving people to it, by asking other similar sites to include links to your website, possibly through the use of an affiliate Advertising program or by submitting your website to the various search engines and directories which exist on the internet.  This is at least a first step and the more sites that link to your own will ensure that the search engine robots find your site more quickly.

As most people surfing the internet will look for information on their desired topics, using one of the 1000s of search engines which exist, it is imperative that you take steps to ensure that your site is included in search listings and also that your site appears near the top of listings.  A lot of people try to advise on ways to get your website to the top of listings on the most popular search engine (Google), although the actual formula used for calculating rankings on search engines is a closely guarded secret and changes as the internet expands. 

Although we offer our own Search Engine Optimisation service, we are happy to offer a few tips based upon our own experience.

Free Tools Available

There are numerous tools for submitting websites to search engines, although we have found that many, especially the free ones, tend to include out of date information on search engines; submit your website to 1000s of FFA link sites (which tend to result in you receiving a large amount of junk emails) and cannot handle the search engine submission pages which require you to enter a randomly generated verification code (the code appears as a graphic which cannot be interpreted by most software).  As a result, many of the various programs and free submission pages on offer say that your site has failed ot be submitted to many of the well known search engines.

One of the options around this is to pay a web site promotion company to promote your website for you - the problem with this is that it can prove to be very expensive, incurring an annual charge and you also have to be careful to check how often your site will be re-submitted (or changes submitted to the search engines).  This should be once a month ideally, although if you upload a host of changes to your website, it would be beneficial to submit the new pages as soon as possible.  You do however, need to beware as many search engines will not allow you to submit a website more than once per month, or, even worse, may treat this as a form of spamming.

Google provide a very useful tool to allow you to check your site statistics within their GoogleBot web robot (the program which they use to trawl the internet and create an index of websites).  This tool is called Google Sitemaps and allows you to see the main keywords used to access your website and also how your website ranks compared to other similar search results.  You can find out which are the most common keywords used on your web site and using this information, you may decide that you need to amend the actual text on your web site to ensure that the words you want to promote appear as the most common.  Google Sitemaps is also very handy to find out if your highest search engine rankings are actually bringing visitors to your website - if not, it is useful to look at the search results and compare the text your website displays in a search to other high ranking web sites.

You can then use a program such as Internet Business Promoter to analyse your website against the higher ranking websites and find out useful suggestions on how to improve your page ranking, based on a comparison of keywords, website titles, contents of your website and much more in order to improve the SEO of your website.

Although this requires a small bit of capital investment yourself, we believe that the cost of software to submit and report on the search engine rankings of your website, should soon pay for itself and provide you with the control you need to ensure that your website is regularly submitted to the most popular websites (and not just FFA links) and new website pages notified to the search engines as soon as possible.  Plus, if you wanted to offset the cost of purchasing the software, you could always set up your own business promoting other people's websites on their behalf !!

Automated Site Submission Software

Having looked at a wide variety of software to help you perform this task, we believe that the most comprehensive and easiest to use packages are the Internet Business Promoter from Axandra and SubmitWolf from Trellian Software.

Try IBP - an easy to use website propmotion toolAxandra's Internet Business Promoter ("IBP") provides an easy to use interface to allow you to set up several projects - each project can contain a list of websites to be submitted to over a 1000 search engines and directories. In comparison with SubmitWolf (below) it would appear to be slightly more expensive at first glance, costing €149.95 (approx $190 for European purchasers).  However, it costs $149.95 for US customers, the same as SubmitWolf and European customers do not have to purchase any extra search engine packs - the difference is that European customers have to pay VAT. 

Internet Business Promoter comes with free search engine updates for the first 90 days and costs after that for regular updates are from €79.95 (approx $100) per annum.  Updates to the main program remain free.

However, not only does IBP include a submission engine and tools to help you to promote your website, including an in-depth help file; but it also provides an extremely useful top 10 ranking report (equivalent to some of the tools provided in the SEO Toolkit available separately for use with SubmitWolf).  Internet Business Promoter also provides links to online documentation on ways of enhancing your HTML code in order to overcome shortcomings in the way in which search engines index a site (for example, where you use flash animations, frames or pictures on your site)

The top 10 ranking report compares your site against the top 10 ranking sites for a given search term on a chosen search engine.   This then compares the way in which various elements on the page have been used by these top 10 sites as against the way in which they are used on your webpage, highlighting where you need to consider making changes.  This provides an in-depth report which you can view as HTML, text, a Word document or a PDF file and considers things such as the title, keywords, description, start of the body text and link popularity.

What is more, both Internet Business Promoter and Arelis (see below) uses an Internet Explorer interface to communicate with the internet (although this is not obvious to the user).  This does mean, that if you have an internet accelerator installed (such as the OnSpeed), then the programs will automatically benefit from the increased speed of internet access which they offer.

SubmitWolf Project ViewSubmitWolf costs from $149.95 provides an easy to use interface to allow you to set up several projects - each project can contain a list of websites to be submitted to over a 1000 search engines and directories and over 500,000 link pages.  You are able to enter the details of page title, description  (both brief and long), keywords for each URL by hand, or ask the program to read in the details from the pre-existing file.  Contact details only have to be added once per project and you can then quickly select which search engines, directories and FFA link pages you want to submit the project to.

The program quickly submits all the information to the selected sites and search engines, saving you hours in tracking down the relevant submission pages and entering the details by hand for every search engine.  The list of search engines is updated daily, ensuring that it is rare for any results to come back as "submission failed".

SubmitWolf also contains a set of rules for each search engine to prevent your site (or webpages) being submitted to each site too regularly (resulting in it being seen as spam) and also preventing you from submitting your site to search engines which would deem it to contain unsuitable content (some search engines only permit sites from within their geographical area for example).

A large database of useful information and tips on how to make your web pages search engine friendly and how to improve your ranking is also included with the package.  It also includes a free program to assist you with making priority submissions to those programs.

The SEO Toolkit can be purchased separately, for an additional $150.00 which provides tools to analyse the top 10 rankings and compare them to your own website.  It will also keep track of what search terms people are using to reach your website, track Pay Per Bid entries (such as provided by an Overture account) and check whether reciprocal links are still in force.

Finally, you may need to purchase additional search engine packs for use with SubmitWolf, depending on the location of your internet domains - these range from $14.95pa to $49.95pa.  Only the US search engine database is initially included with the program and you will need to pay yearly for your chosen search engine packs.  Updates to the main program (ie. from v6 to v7) are also chargeable separately.

Both pieces of software will automatically submit your site to the various search engines, with the only real interaction from you, being required should a site need a random verification code. IBP works more slowly than SubmitWolf, as the latter can open up to 50 concurrent connections to search engines to speed up the submit process.

Controlling Links to your Site

Another excellent program from Axandra, is Arelis, which is used to increase the number of sites which link to your own website.  Arelis allows you to search the internet for sites which either offer similar services to your own, or which link to your rivals.  It will then find the contact details for each website and allow you to preview each website and then send a standard email to the owner (if you wish) asking them to add a link to your own website.  It will also build a links page back to those websites which agree to link to your own, so that you may upload this to your own website (providing cross promotion).  Links back to your own site, can be checked to see if they remain live and removed if required from the links page.

Axandra also provide a free, but extremely useful regular Search Engine Facts newsletter which provides useful tips on getting your website to appear towards the top of search engines.  You may also want to download their free search engine ranking checker which allows you to check on the popularity of links to your website from other websites and how they compare to similar sites within specified search engines.

All of these tools form part of the essential toolkit for the website developer.

However, one of the other main areas which you need to consider is whether and how to advertise your website in order to reach the widest possible audience.  Our next section therefore looks at Website Advertising.

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